One of the features of SimCity 2013 most touted leading up to its release was the multiplayer. Mayors would be able to establish their own cities in a group’s region and cooperate in a variety of ways. They would trade materials, send services to each other, and work together to help a region thrive. It didn’t quite work out as planned. Thankfully, this wasn’t the first multiplayer SimCity game to be released. SimCity 2000 saw a Network Edition release back in 1996.
The SimCity 2000 Network Edition varies in a couple of core concepts. You are no longer the mayor of an entire city, but instead a district commissioner, forced to buy land from the city to build your town. The other players simultaneously do the exact same thing, and are not separated from you by region. Your neighbors can be literally at your doorstep. More importantly, with every player working in the same city, you are forced to cooperate. This cooperation includes: passing laws by voting, agreeing to exchange usages of different buildings, and coordinating when you want to buy more land for your district.
Or you can just, you know, screw everyone else and try to build the best district and compete with the other players. Unlike the new SimCity, 2000 sounds like it has a multiplayer component that actually works. Unless, of course, you have a modern PC; the game was made for Windows 95, after all.
Yet here we are, in 2013, and people are unsatisfied with the multiplayer of the recent SimCity release. Gamers have taken matters into their own hands. Those that are looking for a fully working SimCity multiplayer experience need to look no further. Reddit user MrRong has patched SimCity 2000 Network Edition to work on any NT-based version of Windows (NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8).
This modding shows two things. First, the positive reaction over on Reddit indicates that there is indeed a market for a multiplayer SimCity experience. In truth, this is probably one of the few recent posts the SimCity subreddit has seen that’s not filled with hatred and disappointment. People want to play the franchise they love with friends and acquaintances and they finally now have the chance to. Also, without the mandatory cooperation, SimCity 2000 allows for the possibility of toe-stepping and sabotage amongst players. As much as I enjoy working together with friends, this idea intrigues me far more.
Secondly, it may be the final nail in the coffin for the internet gaming community’s opinion of SimCity 2013. Despite the overwhelming disappointment with EA and Maxis, I was able to tell that players still reserved hope that the companies would fix the issues with SimCity and deliver the definitive experience they were promised. Players wanted the agents to work the way they were intended, the multiplayer to be a new and fresh experience, and the game to win over even the coldest hearts.
Of course, none of this happened. Instead people flocked to the Tropico franchise, discovered Cities XL, and enjoyed Cities in Motion 2. At least now, with the SimCity 2000 Network Edition mod, the people at Maxis have an incentive to track down a copy of their own game. Because I know they’re too disappointed with SimCity 2013 to actually be playing it.
In fact, I should probably find out where I can buy SimCity 2000 Network Edition right now…
Date: April 29, 2013